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Covenants and Dispensations; Gal. 2:14


Galatians 2:14 NASB "But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, 'If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how {is it that} you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?'"


The Mosaic Law has become completely invalid. The only things that continue are the things that have been reiterated in the New Testament because there is a difference, and what we call tuis difference is a dispensational shift. The doctrine of dispensations is fundamental to understanding the Scriptures.


   Dispensations (cont.)


6.  What is the vehicle that God has used in communicating the change in His plans and procedures within human history? It is called a covenant. It is from the Hebrew word berith which means a contract. A covenant is like a contract, it is like a legal document. There are seven different covenants and classifications of divine covenants in the Scriptures. There are covenants that relate to the Gentiles, covenants that relate to the Jews—unconditional and permanent and conditional or temporary. A conditional or temporary covenant means that it was in effect for a certain amount of time and there were conditions attached to it.

7.  Genesis 1:27-29 NASB "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' Then God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.'" God is in heaven, He has created the earth and He sets man up to rule creation in God's place. Man is God's representative on earth; he is to rule. Genesis 2:15 NASB "Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." This is the Edenic covenant. The Hebrew word for "keep" means to guard it. So God has given man a responsibility. Man is placed in the garden and is given two responsibilities. One is to multiply and fill the earth, the other is that man has responsibility. Even in perfect environment where there was no sin there is still responsibility. Human responsibility was established from the very beginning and even in the eternal future we are going to have responsibility.

8.  The Edenic covenant is going to be modified in the Adamic covenant, and that is basically what happened in Genesis 3:14 following in relationship to God's curse on the human race and on creation. Genesis 3:14 NASB "The LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; [15]  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.'" Here we have the first reference to the gospel. Seed refers to Jesus Christ. This is God's grace provision. [16] "To the woman He said, 'I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.'" Why is God talking about child birth? The first requirement of the Edenic covenant was "be fruitful and multiply." Now because of sin it would be more difficult to fulfil the requirements of the covenant. There is no longer the status of perfect environment anymore, there is sin and there are consequences for sin. "Desire for the husband" is a reference to how man was created. The man's soul and the woman are different." The male soul was designed to be the initiator, the leader; the woman's soul was made to be the responder. She is created to be his helper, the man is the one given the responsibility to be the leader over creation. The word used here is teshukah, a word used only three times in the Hebrew. To understand what this means we need to look at Genesis 4:7 NASB "If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." This is a situation where Cain and Abel are in conflict. Cain is very jealous of Abel because of God's blessing on him and the Lord confronts him: "Sin is crouching at the door." The sin nature is waiting to gain control of your life. "…and its desire." What kind of desire is that? It is the desire to dominate, to control, to over power. That is what the word means in Genesis 3:16. The woman has become part of the curse and she now wants to wear the pants in the family and rule the husband. That is the broad sexual trait of women—to be in control. What we see here is that in a fallen world, apart from regeneration, apart from the Scriptures there is going to be warfare between the sexes. Genesis 3:17 NASB "Then to Adam He said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.'" Adam was originally given responsibility before but now it is going to be very difficult to fulfil that responsibility; it now becomes toil, something you really don't want to do.

9.  The Noahic covenant which establishes human government. The human race operated under the Adamic covenant for about 16-1700 years until the flood. During that time Satan instigates a plan in order to destroy the human race and prevent God from fulfilling His promise of the seed of the woman. The saviour of the world had to be true humanity in order to die as a substitute for the human race. So Satan attempts to destroy the purity of the human race, Genesis 6:2ff. The phrase "sons of God" is a technical reference in the Old Testament for angels, both fallen and unfallen. After Noah and his family leave the ark God establishes a new covenant with the human race and its sign is the rainbow. Genesis 9, now there is fear and terror of the human race placed into the animal kingdom. Now man can eat meat. Now there is capital punishment, which tells us that God is now delegating to the human race judicial authority. So we have the Noahic covenant.

10.  The Abrahamic covenant. There are three categories spoken of in Genesis 12:1-3. Land, a people, and blessing. This covenant is expanded upon by three more covenants in the Old Testament—the land covenant in Deuteronomy 30, the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7, and the New covenant in Jeremiah 31. These three covenants just expand the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant.